The calendar read the first of June on Monday, but the weather was much more like January as strong winds and cold temperatures toppled trees, dumped more snow and forced the closure of several highways over the mountains. State meteorologists warned that Tuesday would be even worse.
More than 5,000 households were without electricity in Hedmark and Oppland counties after the winds knocked down power lines. By Monday evening, nearly 12,000 customers of the Eidsiva utility company had experienced power outages throughout the day.
In Lillehammer, tall trees were uprooted in a city park, while small craft warnings were up along the coast. Fallen trees blocked highways and the unusual gusts also roared through Oslo most of the day. The West Coast was hit hard as well, with garden furniture and trampolines flying through the air in some areas.
The state meteorological institute issued storm warnings for Tuesday for 12 counties all over southern Norway, forecasting everything from pouring rain at lower elevations to more snow in the mountains, combined with high winds. The snow and wind on Monday closed the main highway over Hardangervidda to all vehicles except a few heavy trucks. Snowplows couldn’t keep roads open because of drifting snow.
“June is not starting well,” state meteorologist Arnstein Tjøstheim told weather website yr.no. “We’ll just hope for better times.” The bad weather has already prompted many Norwegians to give up on summer holidays at home this year, setting off a rush of bookings for trips south.